PODCAST 48: The Secret to Amazing Sales Engagement w/ Max Altschuler

This week on the Sales Hacker podcast, we talk to Sales Hacker founder and VP of Marketing at Outreach, Max Altschuler. Max is a two-time author known for building intelligent and scalable businesses and joins us to discuss the new book, Sales Engagement and share some of the insights and tactics that are being adopted to deliver best-in-class revenue growth and sales team performance.

If you missed episode 47, check it out here: PODCAST 47: Key Qualities of great Sales Leadership w/ Dan Fougere

What You’ll Learn

  • How to solve business problems using reverse engineering
  • Why Sales Engagement as a category is here to stay
  • Using A/B testing to deliver optimal results
  • Strategies for managing your career and building the right set of core professional skills

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Show Agenda and Timestamps

  1. Show Introduction [00:09]
  2. About Max Altschuler: An Introduction [02:55]
  3. Follow Your Gut [20:12]
  4. Turn the Problem on Its Head [22:21]
  5. How to Write a Book over Christmas Break [24:37]
  6. Sales Engagement, the Book [29:59]
  7. Unleash Your Successful Sales Self [39:03]
  8. Business Karma [41:31]
  9. Sam’s Corner [45:16]

Sales Hacker Podcast—Sponsored by Chorus and Outreach

Sam Jacobs: Hey everybody it’s Sam Jacobs, welcome to the Sales Hacker Podcast. I am the founder of the Revenue Collective. We are the exclusive community for commercial executives at growth companies all over the world. So, if you’re a sales leader out there, commercial leader, or marketing leader, VP level or above, reach out to me over LinkedIn and we’ll see if we can get you involved. It’s really an incredible community that’s been growing by leaps and bounds.

We must thank our sponsors. The first is Chorus, the leading conversation intelligence platform. So check out chorus.ai/sales hacker to see what they’re up to.

And our second sponsor is your friendly neighborhood Outreach, the leading sales engagement platform. Outreach has the backs of the folks who are working on sales and customer engagement.

About Max Altschuler: An Introduction

Sam Jacobs: We’ve got Max Altschuler, founder of Sales Hacker, VP of Marketing at Outreach, co-author of “Sales Engagement” the book. Where you working these days?

Max Altschuler: So, still CEO of Sales Hacker, but VP of Marketing at Outreach also. We keep a hard wall up. Our marketing automations and CRMs are completely different and teams are separate.

Sam Jacobs: How would you describe Sales Hacker?

Max Altschuler: It’s the leading resource for all things B2B, so anybody who’s looking to innovate in sales training, sales technology, sales recruiting. We think that sales, as a profession, has really turned a corner. Gone are the days of the aggressive snake oil salesman, and now it’s the consultative empathetic lead sale. Software’s leading the world and breaking in to a lot of these different verticals, and we want to be able to support the growth of this profession. We have conferences, webinars, podcasts, our blog, and it’s been an exciting ride since we started almost five years ago.

Sam Jacobs: We know what Outreach does, but tell us why you’re so excited about the company as well.

Max Altschuler: It’s the one place you can go to do all of your prospect and customer engagement activities. This is modern sales. Phone and email are no longer enough, and you need to be where something can integrate with a chat platform. Where you can send someone a one-to-one personalized video if that’s the way that they like to be sold to. Or you can text, or use LinkedIn, or direct mail, all in one platform. So you can take your team to a new level of efficiency.

Follow Your Gut

Sam Jacobs: You’ve never had a traditional career. You understand how life and specifically business works. And you understand how to take advantage of the mechanics of business to generate opportunity to generate profit. What do you attribute that skill to?

Max Altschuler: My dad likes to say that we’re part gypsy. There’s some level of intuition, or wisdom that I got. He’s a financial advisor and he’s a relationship guy. Some of the things that I’m good at, I don’t know where I learned this, like a sixth sense almost. I don’t know how to teach it, or how to tell people to do it. Some things just make sense.

It’s an idea that you throw at the wall and it works. And then I’m like, how do I leverage this? A lot of the things that I’ve been successful at in my life have just been a series of tests. I think that’s why I like Outreach so much; Outreach is a series of tests. It is optimizing your playbooks, your channels. It’s optimizing over time with data, with analytics, how you do things. So you can approach a problem from a million different ways. One of the reasons I like giving people career advice is ‘cause typically, they’re only thinking about it in one way, and they haven’t tried to turn the problem on its head.

Turn the Problem on Its Head

Max Altschuler: I was with somebody the other night, and I was giving them some career advice, ‘cause they’re looking for a new role. And, they said, here’s what I’m thinking in salary. I said, if this is the last role that you want to have, then salary’s not what you need to be thinking about, equity is.

People get rich in chunks, they do that by owning pieces of things. There’s no education system that ever told them to look at things in that light, and nobody ever said, if you’re having a problem solving something try and solve it backward. There’s no training on that, but there are things you learn working in start-ups with really smart people who think about problems in those ways.

If you work with engineers or product people often, you can use their frame of reference on other pieces of your life. Like flipping the starting point to the end point.

How to Write a Book over Christmas Break

Sam Jacobs: Where did the books come from, and how do those play in to your strategy?

Max Altschuler: The first book was supposed to be an e-book. I spent four or five years in a row over Christmas and New Year’s in Asia. You have a lot less distractions, so it’s a really good place to sit down and crank. What you need is a really detailed outline. You keep a Google Doc: here are the 12 chapters that we’re going to have, here are the sub-chapters, here are the subtopics under those. It’s a long skeleton of everything that you want to write once you have the chance to actually sit down and write.

Where people go wrong when they write books is they think they’re going to have a chance to write. And you can’t write an hour at a time. When you’re on a roll, you’ve gotta stay on a roll. So you have to go somewhere, have an outline that you come prepared with, and just get ready and go crank it out.

Sales Engagement, the Book

Sam Jacobs: So, the book is “Sales Engagement.” Tell us the main three to five key principles of the book that we should take away from it.

Max Altschuler: We’re going to go really deep into Omnichannel Outreach, and why it’s so important. How to leverage one-to-one video chat, LinkedIn, SMS, email, voice, direct mail, you name it, in your sales process and how to triangulate all of those things to make sure you’re doing the right things for the right persona.

If you’re selling to an operations person, they’re sitting in front of two screens. So do you think calling them or leaving a voicemail or texting them is going to be a great way to interact with them? No, you want to get them on one of those screens with personalized video, email, LinkedIn. A sales person or a senior executive lives out of their phone. So any kind of phone call, voicemail, text message might have a higher rate of connecting.

We’re going to talk a lot about A-B testing, we’ve got a lot of internal data that we’re releasing in the book about what we see and what are best practices, based on the data. We talk a lot about account-based sales development, account based marketing, and how you can leverage that. We’ll talk about managing, coaching, and getting the most out of your reps and replicating best practices across your team. It’s chock full of actionable information.

RELATED: Sales Engagement: The Intersection of Sales and Science

Unleash Your Successful Sales Self

Sam Jacobs: This episode is coming out on March 12th which is the last day of Unleash, the conference that you’ve spent a lot of time and energy putting on this year. What are you hoping comes from the conference?

Max Altschuler: Our goal is to build a sales engagement conference for the industry. Not just a user conference or customer conference. There are a lot of people who are, I would say, prospects in the audience, but people who aren’t technically Outreach customers right now and are just generally interested in understanding modern sales and sales engagement. So, we want to keep building up this event. We want to make sure that it feels very enterprise oriented or white glove, high touch. We want you to come and feel like you can trust our product, it’s reliable, every detail has been taken into consideration. It is a reflection of us, so we want to make sure that everybody feels like, wow, these guys really care about what they do.

We’re trying to grow it, but grow it steadily and not in a way where you bring 20 people from your company. For now we want to keep it Director level and above. Sales Operations focus, sales leadership, and people who want to come to learn and meet others, not sell their own products. We are keeping it really high quality with some really amazing speakers.

Business Karma

Sam Jacobs: You have such a unique approach to life. When you’re advising companies or people, what are the common themes that you keep repeating that form the core of your personal philosophy?

Max Altschuler: It really depends on the situation. One of the things that has gotten me furthest in my career is always finding ways to help others and being as helpful as I could possibly be: with my time, being positive. I come from an angle of positivity, hopefulness, realness, authenticity. The situation may not be the best right now, but here are the things we need to do to fix it. Let’s have solutions for problems and not the other way around. So approaching everything with that kind of let’s-solve-it mindset. Let’s break it down and attack it. Find a different way in.

How can we be scrappy about it? Just because you’re at a big company doesn’t mean they have to spend money on something. How could we build relationships at scale when you’re at a company that’s doubling year over year, and you are stretched thin? We need to be creative about partnering to get in front of a lot of people and provide value for them.

And sometimes you have to spend a little money, and sometimes you have to get on a plane. Sometimes you have to spend a little extra time on LinkedIn sharing with your audience. There’s no easy way. But you can definitely think outside of the box.

Sam Jacobs: That’s good advice, and I think you’re absolutely right about helping other people.

Max Altschuler: Oh yeah. Business Karma.

Sam’s Corner

This is Sam’s Corner, another fantastic interview, this time with Sales Hacker founder and VP of Marketing at Outreach, Max Altschuler. Max talked a lot about:

  • How to solve business problems using reverse engineering
  • Why Sales Engagement as a category is here to stay
  • Using A/B testing to deliver optimal results
  • Strategies for managing your career and building the right set of core professional skills

Don’t Miss Episode 49

Now, if you wanna check out the show notes, see upcoming guests, or play more episodes from our incredible lineup of sales leaders, visit gtmnow.com/podcast-subscribe. You can also find the Sales Hacker podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. If you enjoy this episode, please share with your peers on LinkedIn, Twitter, or elsewhere.

If you’ve got a great idea or a guest for the show, if you wanna get in touch with me, find me on Twitter or on LinkedIn.

And then finally of course, we want to thank our sponsors for the episode. Big shout out to Chorus, the leading conversation intelligence platform, and Outreach, the leading sales engagement platform. Thanks so much for listening. Hope you enjoyed this episode, hope you made it to Unleash in San Diego, and if you didn’t, we will see you next year.

Thanks so much for listening, and I’ll talk to you next time.

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